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Overcoming Legacy Limitations with DevOps Principles

November 30, 2022


DevOps is not a new technology but a philosophy to overcome legacy redundancy.

The world of software development has changed dramatically in the last decade. It’s a much more agile industry, with developers empowered to make decisions and innovate to help solve business problems. This shift has required companies to adopt new processes and tools to stay competitive, but many legacy organizations still need help to adapt. 

The core reason for most organizations’ discomfort in switching to better processes is their sheer inability to get out of their comfort zone. This includes aspects such as understanding the current system’s problems and identifying how newer processes can overcome the existing challenges. As per Cleo’s 2020 Report, 63% of the respondents said they’re troubled with legacy application integrations. Another problem is organizing the switchover in a phased manner to prevent too much disruption of daily operations.

We now look at how DevOps principles can and need to be adopted in the renewed development arena.

Old Outdated Approach

The age-old approach to managing software development operations is not agile; neither flexible nor scalable. In today’s quick-paced and fiercely competitive world, agility is a must if your business is to have any chance of surviving. However, many organizations still rely on legacy technology as their primary software development and deployment source. Nearly 40% of IBM survey respondents believe they need another four years before they’re ready to comply with U.S. President Joe Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order.

Overall, the siloed approach, where development occurs in an environment disintegrated from the other verticals of the pre and post-development processes, is not sustainable. The biggest reason for this dramatic assertion is the fact that it’s innovation-averse, which kills all the incentives for the people working in these processes. A noteworthy aspect of this discussion is that the overuse of legacy technology gives rise to compatibility issues. So the bigger problem at hand is modernization than upgrading the methodologies to match the pace of the market.

Agile Flexible Approach

Agile is a way of thinking and operating. As a software development methodology, it’s also an iterative, incremental approach to software development.

Agile can be used on any scale, from small teams within companies to global operations involving thousands of people across multiple geographies. Agile methods are used in highly regulated industries such as banking or healthcare and less regulated ones like retailing or hospitality, or even media organizations where agility is essential for maintaining relevance with your audience. The takeaway from the agile approach is to break down complex offerings into bite-sized microservices that are deployable individually or in a bundled form. Benefits from synergy can be truly reaped when CI/CD pipelines are combined with microservice architecture.

Cultural Change

Change is one of the most critical factors in the success of DevOps. A cultural shift can be difficult, but it’s possible with the right tools and techniques.

Research by McKinsey found that organizational culture is one of the most significant barriers as well as interstice to digital transformation. It also found that organizations implementing DevOps practices enjoy higher employee satisfaction, increased revenue, and lower cost than their peers who haven’t adopted those same practices. Nevertheless, despite these advantages, many IT leaders need to be bold in adopting DevOps. Most fear cultural resistance from workers who are unwilling to change their ways or are afraid of losing their jobs if they don’t adapt to new technologies like cloud computing or mobile devices quickly enough.

This is where the role of a transformation officer comes into play. The top leadership comprising executive and technology officers, have other preoccupations at hand; they are also not directly in touch with the functional teams at times. The transformation officer acts as the driving force for instigating the change required in the organization by combining the organizational and DevOps values and pushing the employees to achieve their potential without any corporate politics.

Modernizing through Business Transformation Initiatives

Modernizing your business requires a holistic approach. You can’t just update the infrastructure or processes; they must be integrated and aligned. To successfully modernize your organization, you need to understand the combined impact of legacy limitations on your IT and business operations. By identifying these limitations and developing a DevOps strategy for overcoming them, you can create a roadmap for modernization that will allow you to realize its full potential.

To have an effective DevOps strategy in place, everyone involved must understand what DevOps is and isn’t. The goal here isn’t just to increase efficiency; it’s also about improving effectiveness by increasing collaboration between different departments within an organization (e.g., development and operations). The age of cross-functional teams is here to stay. The better the communicational pathways and response times across the organizations, the better it is for all the stakeholders involved.

DevOps is a way of thinking and operating

DevOps is not a job role; it’s a way to think about the business. DevOps engineers are expected to be cross-functional and have a holistic view of the application/operations environment; they are not siloed in one area or another.

The goal is to build high-quality software at an accelerated pace while maintaining high reliability, security, and availability. All of this is possible by minimizing the operational overhaul risk by reaping the benefits of automation wherever possible.

As you must have gauged so far, DevOps is not just about the tools or processes one should deploy. The core philosophy of DevOps emphasizes cultural change as the keystone that requires buy-in from all stakeholders for the undertaking to be successful. Implementing DevOps requires organizational structure, processes, culture, and even compensation changes. Achieving visible or quantifiable results may take time, but the payoff will certainly be worth it!

If you have been considering the viability of embarking upon the transformational process for your organization, do bear in mind that the need is inevitable. The sooner you get to terms with it, the better.

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